Trust faces fine after safety case

The Oxford Times: Gillian Astbury died after slipping into a diabetic coma in 2007 (Anthony Collins Solicitors) Gillian Astbury died after slipping into a diabetic coma in 2007 (Anthony Collins Solicitors)

The NHS trust which runs Stafford Hospital will be sentenced today for safety breaches which led to the death of a diabetic patient in 2007.

The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust faces an unlimited fine after pleading guilty to failing to ensure the safety of Gillian Astbury, who lapsed into a diabetic coma after a fall.

The Trust, which was at the centre of a public inquiry into its "appalling" standards of care between 2005 and 2009, admitted an offence brought under health and safety law at Stafford Magistrates' Court last October.

At the earlier hearing, the Trust acknowledged it had failed properly to manage and organise hospital services, including patient information systems and processes for communication between staff members.

The criminal prosecution was brought by the Health and Safety Executive three years after an inquest jury ruled Mrs Astbury's death was contributed to by low staffing levels and other systemic failures.

The inquest also concluded that a failure to administer insulin to the 66-year-old amounted to a gross failure to provide basic care.

Mrs Astbury, from Hednesford, Staffordshire, died in the early hours of April 11, 2007, after being admitted to Stafford Hospital with fractures to her arm and pelvis.

The Trust, which has apologised to Mrs Astbury's family for the "dreadful" care she received, will be sentenced by Mr Justice Haddon-Cave at Stafford Crown Court.

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